HOOVER, Ala. – In short order, Georgia has gone from a program with very little quarterback talent to a program with a lot of quarterback talent. This year, the Georgia Bulldogs are heading into the season with arguably the most talented quarterback in the entire Southeastern Conference, J.T. Daniels, and that should just tell you where their expectations are for this Bulldogs offense this fall.
“There are a lot of great quarterbacks, a lot of great players in the SEC,” Daniels said. “The first thing I learned since I got here is like, I don’t care if you’re a third-stringer in the SEC, if you’re playing football in this conference, you’re a really good player.”
For head coach Kirby Smart, the year after Jake Fromm departed was a tough one for the Georgia offense, until Smart installed Daniels as the starter. That changed everything for the Bulldogs’ offense in 2020.
“It was a situation where we had a little bit of a quarterback deficit and we were able to improve our roster, getting Jamie (Newman), getting Stetson (Bennett), who came back from junior college, and then getting J.T. on the roster. So I’m excited to see what he can do this year. I think his growth has been more physical than mental. Although you’re always drawing a quarterback mentally because you get experiences. He’s a guy that’s played a lot of football between high school USC, and our place, but he’s gotten his knee in better shape. He’s gotten more mobile and can move a little bit and he’s got a lot more confidence and he’s got a better relationship with the players around him.”
After Daniels and Bennett, a local name sits on the depth chart. Former Mandarin quarterback Carson Beck has become a bit of a forgotten name. But the former Mr. Football in the state of Florida shouldn’t be forgotten so quickly. Daniels and Smart both said they think Beck has made a lot of progress and is game-ready.
“He’s a very good player. And a really good person too,” Daniels said. “From when I got here to where Carson is now, there has been tremendous improvement. I personally think he’s game-ready. Carson’s really good. There are no concerns from the quarterback room of who’s going to be ready and who needs to play. I think there’s a lot of guys and Carson, especially, that are ready to play ball.”
If Beck has the chance to play this season, perhaps in some blowouts, Smart could see more from Beck than we’ve seen since he won the state championship fro Mandarin as a junior.
“I’m excited about Carson Beck’s future,” Smart said. “He’s a very bright young man. He’s done the right things off the field in terms of classroom and doing what he’s supposed to do. He’s improved in that area. He’s talented, he’s really got good composure, you know, he’s a guy that can stand in the pocket with confidence and make throws. He’s a really good baseball player in high school that I don’t think people give him enough credit, athletically, but very intelligent, great family, and I’m looking forward to seeing him grow.
Despite the high praise for Beck, this is clearly Daniels’ team for this upcoming season. And there are high expectations for Daniels when he hits the field between the hedges.
“JT does a great job of making sure that he’s keeping skilled players accountable for what they have to do and demanding that there is excellence,” Smart said. “I appreciate the thought that J.T. puts into the game plan. That shows that he’s a true quarterback and a true leader.”